Coronavirus – The Need to Adapt

Within a few short months the rapid spread and aggressive nature of the coronavirus has changed the world. Survival is uppermost in our minds at present and then we’ll have to try to re-build the economy.

Winston Churchill once said: “Never let a good crisis go to waste.”

He was right. Horrible though all this is, we are here, and we will have to try to make the best of things. A time for reflection may not necessarily be a bad thing. I read recently that Sir Isaac Newton formulated his theory of gravity during a time of plague, when normal life was severely curtailed. The original blue sky thinking perhaps?!

Spotting opportunities

We can also start thinking about when we get going again. The enforced changes meant that business had to get to grips with remote working and meeting virtually. Those who remain working have had to get used to the technology. IT and technology have become vital. If we can do this successfully it raises questions about the expensive workplaces which are now locked and silent.

Business who have suffered a catastrophic decline for their products or services will have to scrutinise every part of their operation to assess whether it adds enough value to the effort to justify its being retained.

There are many questions to be asked.

Regarding the workplace, many offices are built from steel, concrete and glass, all energy – hungry materials. Is an office building like this good stewardship of our dwindling resources? Should we make other arrangements?

Is it desirable to group together in large numbers? The risk of terrorism highlights that densely packed cities are easy prey to acts of violence as well as the risk of infection.

Commuting on rush hour public transport is often not only unpleasant, but unhygienic. Trains and tubes usually mean being squashed in with strangers and then exposed to contact with dirty surfaces in stations, public foyers, lifts, and shared loos. Could this be replaced this with a healthier alternative a short walk or cycle from home to a shared working hub, where remote working tech links to colleagues?

We know there was already an epidemic of loneliness in the UK pre-coronavirus. We need social contact to grow, learn, stay engaged and stay well, and although technology assists us in periods of enforced isolation there is a growing urge to be with others for the stimulus that only person-to-person interaction provides. How can we deal with this?

We can’t draw any conclusions yet, but “a good crisis” creates different thinking and different thinking creates opportunities. If we look to the recent past we saw some remarkable businesses come out of the financial crisis of 2008-2009. Groupon was founded and thrived, Netflix took off, and Amazon went from strength to strength.

All this tells us is that once you have gone through the ‘survival mode’, think about the future. If you recognise the challenges, you will be better able to harness the opportunities.

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Although every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this blog, nothing herein should be construed as giving advice and no responsibility will be taken for inaccuracies or errors.

Copyright © 2020 all rights reserved. You may copy or distribute this blog as long as this copyright notice and full information about contacting the author are attached. The author is Kate Russell of Russell HR Consulting Ltd.